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Traveler’s first aid kit – equatorial zone

Traveler’s first aid kit – equatorial zone

Traveller’s first aid kit

First aid kit is an essential element during travels. No matter where you go, the first aid kit should be taken. Nevertheless, the chosen destination will determine the composition of our first aid kit. There is a group of medicines needed at every latitude and longitude, but there are also medicines that are especially useful for us in specific climatic conditions. Remember that each country is different and requires different preparation. Therefore, the following guide is more a hint which basic medicines to take. Nonetheless, everyone should visit a Travel Health Doctor for thorough consultation and analysis of the country they are going to.

Equatorial zone

The equatorial zone, and by Koppen called the tropical zone, extends north and south of the equator. It is distinguished by a humid climate, high temperatures and two seasons: dry and wet. The closer to the equator, the wetter, hotter. Equatorial zone countries include, among others Indonesia, Malaysia, Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, part of Mexico, and Thailand.

The equatorial zone is largely covered with lush rainforests, rich in fauna and flora. Often unknown to us, tourists from different climate zones and hence – dangerous. High temperatures are also conducive to the development of various microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, to which people from outside this climate zone may not be resistant.

Moreover, the countries of the equatorial zone are predominantly developing or extremely poor countries, with limited access to drinking water, education and electricity. Often, sewage systems are extremely makeshift, and there is no sustainable waste management, which is why wastewater frequently goes to nearby water reservoirs or nearby rivers from which residents use for cooking and drinking. Waste is not segregated, it is thrown into the forest, where it decomposes slowly, often causing contamination with chemical substances that later penetrate into groundwater.

BASIC PRINCIPLES OF TROPICAL HYGIENE

Use of protective clothing after sunset (long pants, long sleeves, full footwear).

Use of insect repellents sprayed on the skin several times during the day and night.

The use of mosquito nets during sleep at night and window mesh.

Avoid bathing in open freshwater reservoirs.

Avoid walking barefoot or in outdoor sandals outside the hotel environment.

The use of full trekking footwear during a trip to the rainforest.

Use only boiled / mineral water for drinking (bottled, canned water).

Do not use ice cubes for drinks.

Do not eat raw foods stored on ice.

Brush teeth only in boiled or mineral water.

Wash or disinfect hands before each meal, dry hands without using fabric towels.

Avoid eating milk, meat, cheese, mayonnaise, ice cream, cream, butter and raw or undercooked eggs.

Wash and peel tropical fruit and vegetables.

Do not eat food prepared in poor sanitary and hygienic conditions or from an unknown source.

Avoid visiting markets with live animals.

Avoid contact with accidentally encountered animals (in Bali dogs carry a parasitic skin disease).

Avoid accidental sexual contact and the use of precautions against sexually transmitted diseases.

Change of contact lenses after each swim in the sea, ocean or hotel pool.

Sun protection: use of a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen with a filter (SPF min. 30).

First aid kit for the tropical area

In the beginning, I want to say that I am an opponent of antibiotics (did you know that your body regenerates over 3 months after antibiotic therapy?). That is why I advise against buying and using this type of medicine in developing countries without consulting a doctor. The only antibiotic that I take with me is medicine for so-called travellers’ diarrhea, prescribed by a Travel Doctor with a detailed description of the dosage.

Painkillers and antipyretics

  • Ibuprofen
  • Paracetamol (remember, doses over 20g / day can be fatal)

Antibacterial drugs

  • Sulfacetamide 10%: eye drops
  • Octenisept – for wounds
  • Furagin – for urinary drug inflammation

Drugs to prevent motion sickness

  • Dimenhydrinate (Aviomarin / Dramamine)

Antidiarrheal drugs

  • Xifaxan: prescription, but very good for traveller’s diarrhea
  • Nifuroxazide, Loperamide
  • Activated carbon – not available everywhere, and often “saves lives”.
  • Electrolytes – you can get it in the form of effervescent tablets.
  • Probiotics – ATTENTION! Buy ones that don’t have to be in the fridge!

Anti-mosquito sprays

  • Repellents for skin and clothing: Mugga
  • Tea tree oil – works great against mosquitoes and is also good for hair

Anti-allergic drugs

  • Calcium: effervescent tablets
  • Fenistil: gel for use on the skin after insect stings, burns sunny, allergic urticaria

Women’s first aid kit

  • Tampons
  • Provag gel
  • Birth control pills
  • Condoms

Antispasmodics

  • No-Spa

 

Additional

  • Medical thermometer
  • Sunglasses/cap / headscarf
  • Cream with a UV filter of 15 or more
  • Eye drops – dry quickly at high temperatures
  • Nasal drops – I love the gel ones – Oxalin, I always have it with me
  • Panthenol – for sunburns or aloe vera gel soothes any skin irritation. Plus the saur cream works very well on sunburn –  put on red skin, wait to dry. Cream draws heat from the skin. An old, but good and proven way to fight with a sunburn.
  • A small hands sanitizer – it is especially useful in transport, such as an aeroplane, ferry, bus, where we have to use public toilets.
  • A bottle with a carbon filter – not everything will filter, but it will always clean the water a little.

Malarone

Malarone is medicine for malaria and opinions on its taking are very divided. Personally, I think you should contact a travel medicine doctor who will advise you if and how to take, depending on your direction. I took it to Indonesia as a medicine “in my pocket”, so I would take it only after the symptoms will occur and rush to the hospital.

Bringing medicines and customs law

Prescription drugs, but sometimes also those obtained without a prescription, can be problematic when travelling, and there may be unpleasant consequences for trying to bring them to some countries. In some Asian countries, you can even get the death penalty for possession of drugs !!! That is why it is worth getting acquainted with the regulations concerning the importation of medicines to the country to which we are going and all the transit countries! A website that may be useful  International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

Medical Certificate

It is worth having a Medical Certificate in English with you. Sounds mysterious and often doctors have no idea how to issue such a document. So it is worth going to a travel doctor who should be familiar with that document, but every doctor should be able to issue such a certificate, after explaining what it should contain. The certificate is issued for prescription drugs and those taken for chronic diseases that are imported in non-standard quantities.

What must be in it?

  • your data (who are the medicines for)
  • drug names (their Latin names)
  • doses of drugs
  • doctor’s signature and stamp

Additional information

Before travelling to “exotic” countries, it is worth getting acquainted with the recommended and sometimes required vaccinations. Some should be taken3 months prior to departure !!!

Insurance is another important matter before travelling to any country. Do not underestimate this, do not hide behind young age or lack of health problems. Get decent insurance.

 

And what does your travel kit look like? And did it really help you?

If you have any questions, contact me here. 

Moving abroad (examples: The UK, Australia, Poland). To-do list.

Moving abroad (examples: The UK, Australia, Poland). To-do list.

Moving abroad

Moving abroad is a challenge, an adventure, the beginning of something new. It is also a step into the unknown in which we must re-organize our lives. These beginnings in a new country can be very stressful. I know because I’ve already done three removals (About me fears you can read here.) How to deal with stress? It is worth preparing and rethinking the action plan.

For people who live in one place for years, preparing for emigration can be difficult. Challenges await you in a places you probably don’t even think about. Nevertheless, this is part of the adventure.

I can help you a little, show you the way to the first few steps that you need to do in a new place.

I suppose that my list will not work in every case, but probably in many cases.

 Acclimatisation in a new country – to-do list

1. Accommodation

It is difficult to find a dream place online/remotely. You don’t know the city, you don’t know where you will work, which districts you like more or less. Therefore, at the beginning I recommend short-term rental. Airbnb works well for us. In Melbourne, Australia, it took us 10 days to find a room for longer, but we knew the city. However, if you are traveling into the unknown, maybe book more time to search and fight with jetlag.

Our Airbnb in Paris.

2. Bank

The bank is really the most important point after accommodation. First of all, it’s worth checking online the terms and agreements in various banks while in your country. Some banks, such as CommBank in Australia, give you the option of creating an online account (activating at a branch upon arrival). That safe time. The UK is more restrictive and you must provide your home address, tax number and local telephone number here. So try to prepare those documents fast. What’s more, it’s worth checking what documents you will need in your case and get them ready while still in your country! Some banks requires translations, proofs, etc. 

3. Tax number

You must have a taxpayer number to work legally in every country in the World. In Poland it is PESEL or NIP, in Australia TFN (Tax File Number), in England NIN (National Insurance Number). Some countries like Australia enable an online application. However, you must provide the Australian address to which the letter will be sent (it may be the address of the hostel you will be). In England, theoretically, you can apply for NIN from your country. Unofficially, you can call and pretend you’re in England but you don’t have a local SIM card yet. It is worth doing it earlier because waiting time for an appoitment can be very long (even a month) and after visiting the office another 2 weeks of waiting.

4. SIMcard

Here it is also worth checking offers earlier. Perhaps if you are planning a longer stay it will be more profitable to sign an annual contract. In Australia, for example, we have 3 large operators who really have a monopoly and their offers are almost identical.

Remember! If you are a student, you may be eligible for a discount! Check!

5. Transport

Most major cities in the world have metropolitan cards for public transport. It is worth checking in advance what the card is called (Myki – Melbourne, Oyster- London, PEKA – Poznań), where to buy it and whether you will not need your photo. In addition, you can check whether you are entitled to a discount.

TIP: Passport photos are always worth having in your wallet. They are useful for city and student cards, etc.

6. Job

It is worth starting to look for works while still in your country. Chances are rather small, unless you’re from the IT industry ? Personality is important (often more than a diploma) in Australia, so looking for a job remotely can be difficult, but it’s worth trying to at least examine the needs of the market.

TIP: It’s worth checking what type of CV is preferred in a country you are goint to. In Australia, for example, photos are not pasted.

 

Once you’ve dealt with these few things, it’s worth taking the time to explore the city / region. Get to know the area. Check what part of the city you like the most.

Let me know what your first steps in exile looked like, and where do you live?

Every experience, every advice is valuable 🙂

MORAL GUIDE # 1: Begpacking the worst trend in tourism.

Moral Guide through sustainable travel

I have traveled on three continents, visited highly developed countries, but also extremely poor countries, traveled by various means of transport and during these trips I observe incorrect tourist or, as some prefer, travelers behavior.

For that reason, I decided to create a series: Moral Guide, describing dangerous, stupid or immoral trends in tourism. You will also find here a bunch of practical advice: how to travel with a respect to others’ cultures and the environment. Seems banal, but you’ll see how many small mistakes we make, often unconsciously.

Number 1
Begging travelers, or begpacking

 

Currently, we face the increase, with the “speed of light” a number of people traveling . This is due to the simplicity of traveling, increasing standard of living and the amount of free time. Many travelers and even more trends and motivation for traveling. Unfortunately, from my own observations I see that many of these trends are going in a very bad direction.

One of them is begpacking. Do not be confused with backpacking – traveling with a backpack. Begpacking is just begging for further travel.

The first time I faced this problem a year ago on the web, reading information from Asia about “white tourists collecting money for their travels”. Even then, it seemed immoral and distasteful. I did not realize the scale of the problem. It did not occur to me that this way of traveling can attract a large crowd of supporters. Currently, begpacking is an extremely popular form of travel, especially in Asia.

 

Begpacker Vs. Backpacker

It amazes me the impudence of all these young Europeans and Americans begging for their exotic trips. Usually they are young people, fully functional, intelligent (although sometimes it’s hard to believe when I see how they behave), who can easily find a job (casual, physical). But who would like to work, if you can beg for money. However, there is a problem.

Begpacker will never get support in highly developed countries, such as Australia or Germany, because there people will simply laugh at him, saying: You have two arms and legs. Go find a job, hippie.

You can be a backpacker everywhere,working and earning money for your further travels. And here backpacking wins. And so, it should be. Because why do some people work hard on their dreams, and others have to get it for free? Begging on the streets of the middle-developed or poor countries, whose inhabitants should receive support from tourists, and not vice versa.

Travels – a luxury good, not indispensable

Is begpacking immoral?

Some might say that there is nothing wrong with that. If someone wants to give them money then why not. There is nothing immoral about it. But let ask yourself: what are travels? Are travels indispensable for life? Will you die without them? Well, NO. Travel is a luxury good, value added to our lives, a reward for hard work.

It follows, that I could stand on the street with a cardboard I am collecting for a BMW and I should also count on money. In the end, the car is also a luxury good, why would not I get any money for it. And you, Travelers, would you give some coins to such a “needy”?

There is something so nasty in begpacking that I would like to take all the spoiled pseudo-travelers to Outback farms to collect fruit. And I explain you Why. Welcome to: Story from Kuala Lumpur.

Story from Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia, a country in Asia. Malaysia is in the 38th position in economic terms in the world. Apparently there is no tragedy, but not crazy fortune either. Kuala Lumpur itself is a mix of wealth and poverty, neighboring wall in the wall, street in the street.

One evening I was walking the streets of the city, the Chinese New Year was just celebrated and it was very colorful. One of the streets was particularly crowded, because there is a street market on it. You can buy anything here. From souvenirs to exotic fruits. Between the stalls I noticed a couple of young guys, typical hippies in Aladdin pants, long beards (such a hipsters), white. I looked at them for a moment with a smile. Handsome, well-built (they would easily find a job, although casual). Suddenly I noticed a cardboard sign: we collect to travel around the world.

Ambitiously. Who would collect for a ticket home? Travel around the world it’s such a fun. Especially without money. I looked at them a bit longer. Branded clothes, ukulele (probably only for decorations), sunglasses. They did not even bother to sell some handicrafts or do stupid magic tricks. I gave them a look of contempt and went away.

I went maybe 100 m.

There was a man on the other side of the street, a Malaysian (I suppose so according to facial features and skin color). He sat on a piece of board with makeshift wheels. He did not have a hand and both legs. He asked for money for food.

The best summary of this entry.

EMIGRATION – the most difficult decision. But for whom?

EMIGRATION – the most difficult decision. But for whom?

The worst decision

England turned out to be my worst immigrant choice. Definitely not a country for me. Neither the weather, nor the lifestyle nor even the earnings are good. And only one thing surprises me. That I once dreamed of living in England. That is the problem with dreams. We do not know until the end whether they will bring us something positive. In most cases, probably yes, but not always.

However, I can not criticize England in 100% because it has a beautiful places. Forests, fields, towns with stone houses, squirrels in every park, modern London. But there is also the other England. Dirty, post-industrial, intolerant and racist.

Probably if it were possible I would have escaped from England to Poland, where at least I would have a normal job in my profession. But there is no such possibility. Edgar has no right to work in Poland, he does not know the language, he would be just as lonely as I am in England.

What if not England?

So what remains for us?

In the US there is no chance for a work visa, Canada is beautiful but too cold, New Zealand is also paradoxically too cold, but still Plan B. ?  Well, Australia. Our beloved Australia, where we met. A country where I felt that I could be myself. The one that many of my friends or family do not know and probably would not accept.

Australia is where I met people with similar views and I understood that my dreams and plans are not so extreme or bad, they are just very different from those that my friends have in Poland. There, no one judged me that at almost 30 years I sell ice cream in a holiday resort. When in Poland it would be unthinkable, and the family would be ashamed to even mention what I am doing. There, I met people who were much older, who rejected the traditional way of life, rejected stagnation. Or maybe they got lost in travel life? – as I heard lately. Does it matter? The question is: Are they happy? ?

In Australia, I fell in love with freedom, that feeling when I can move almost overnight, that nothing holds me in place. In Australia I fell in love with people who, despite being your friends only for a moment, leave a trace in your heart for life. I love the lifestyle in which you work to live, NO you live to work.

On the other hand, Australia also has its drawbacks. Distance is one of the largest.

Main topic

For more than 3 months, Australia has been the main topic after work, on weekends and after waking up. Will we come back? How to return? Is this a good decision, will there be enough money? Which town? What visa?

We already went through six agents (migration and education) looking for a way to return. I’ve dug a pile of documents and the folder is still growing. Little by little I can feel physical and psychological exhaustion, and I am beginning to question whether this decision is definitely good.

I know it is, but it is also damn hard.

 

Emigration – the most difficult decision for the family

My family took very hard information about my plans to return to Australia. The main arguments against are distance, fears of losing a bond, and perhaps the fear that they will be left alone. I mean, it’s only 2 hours from England to Poland and if they need me, I’m almost there. The truth is that if something goes wrong, it is obvious that I will fly even from the end of the world. Only it will take a little more. From time to time, the family tries to convince me to return to Poland.

And you know what? It annoys me, this very selfish approach. Because I have the impression that everyone around seems to be so suffering, that only they will be alone, that only they will cry in a pillow, and I will be lying on the beach. When the realities are completely different.

They will have their favorite cup of coffee at hand, a garden where they can go for a walk, Maxi, who they can cuddle, places they know and love, cinemas, favorite shops, favorite food. Everything what is familiar. Everything what is safe.

And, do not get me wrong, I described my impressions from Australia so beautifully, but Australia is not my country. It is the best choice for now, but it’s not the same as Poland and always the beginnings are difficult. And I will have to start again. I have to remind myself what products in the store I liked, open an account in the bank, buy Myki on the tram, find a flat, friends, find my favorite places, learn and speak in a different language. At the moment of sadness or doubt, there will be nothing familiar. It will be Edgar ? but you know what I mean. ?

Emigration is a compromise

Change is difficult, risky, expensive, but often: for better. A change also involves losing something. Friends, close relationships, time that will not go back. And about the time I’m so afraid. That time with my relatives which will be lost forever. And I’m aware of that. But I’m also aware that at this particular moment in life, emigration is the only chance for a better future.

Writing it, I thought that someone could now judge me as an egoist because I choose my better future instead of being with my family. And believe it or not, but sometimes I ask myself the same question. But then quickly I’m reminding myself of my therapist’s words: “It’s your life, you have only One and you must live life the way you want.” Of course, possibly not hurting anyone.

I would like you to understand that the decision to emigrate is always painful, not only for those close to you, but especially for those who leave their country. Finally, I go into the unknown / risk / fight with all the barriers that you will not even think about.